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Feb 14, 2013

Facebook Status of the Day

Welcome to the new feature on Life in Israel - Facebook Status of the Day (fsotd). I don't know how frequently I will do this, but let's see how it develops.

Today's winner of fsotd is a status update written by MK Moshe Feiglin. Translation after the screen shot.

Feiglin writes:
The response I just sent to a questioner who was very bothered by the fact that I shake women's hands, I find appropriate to publicize here.
In the past I did not shake hands of women, until it became clear to me that there is no prohibition in this - meaning, touching out of courtesy is different than touching out of affection.
I feel the walls that have come up between parts of the nation, the inability to listen and connect around the unifying, threatens us more than the waiving of a chumra.
I consulted with my rabbi, and I am acting in accordance with his psak.
Thank you for your important question.
I wonder if this change will drive away some of his haredi supporters. Or maybe even others.
General supporters might have a problem: Maybe people will see this as immediately after getting into the Knesset he is already compromising on his ideals. While true this might be considered a minor issue, if he can't stand strong and keep his ideals on even such minor things, who says the Knesset won't change him on bigger things when he will be under even more pressure.
Haredi supporters might have a problem: they supported him as somebody faithful to ideals and to the Torah. Suddenly he is abandoning that and perhaps he will abandon other Torah-based ideals as well. What makes him any better than other politicians now...

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  1. I really hope you're kidding. Moshe Feiglin continues to be consistent with his core values, which he has articulated again and again. So if you don't like his rav's p'sak, that means that he shouldn't follow it? In any case, any haredi who thinks that Feiglin is haredi or pretends to be haredi simply hasn't been listening.

  2. I am just saying one can look at this and say - look, he gets into Knesset and changes what he does...
    personally, I have no problem with him shaking womens hands... (I have been known to do so on occasion as well)

  3. If you're interested, I wrote about R. Shimon Shkop and shaking womens' hands here.


    1. Thanks for that very interesting link! My Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Azriel Chaim Goldfein ZT"L, also behaved like Rav Shkop, and several times I witnessed that when a woman would extend her hand to him, he would unhesitatingly shake it. Same with the previous South African Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris ZT"L. Totally appropriate and correct.

  4. How he is he different from the Haredi MKs who get elected and change their values.

    They don't believe in the Zionist entity, would never fly an Israeli flag and yet when they become Knesset members their anti-Zionist ideology falls by the wayside in favor of their big fat Zionist salary and perks.

  5. As opposed to viewing his behavior as becoming more lax, I see it as being machmir in Ahavat Yisrael

  6. Asking for a receiving a psak halacha from one's rav hardly qualifies as abandoning Torah based ideals.

  7. I question people who won't shake a woman's hand in a setting such as the knesset.

    It's not halacha, and making people thinking it is halacha is putting a stumbling block.

    1. What do you mean by a stumbling block?

    2. Causing embarrassment or hurt feelings.


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